What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a relatively new concept that encourages you to fully engage with the moment. Mindfulness practices can help you with regulating your emotions, increasing your self - awareness and decreasing stress and anxiety. This in turn supports improved mental clarity and focus - which is important when managing your finances!
How can being financially mindful make you feel better
Mindfulness can help you achieve financial wellbeing by getting you to focus on what is important to you, becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings around money and spending habits.
If you have experienced negative emotions about your financial situation, such as stress, worry, guilt or shame or you regularly engage in a cycle of impulse shopping followed by regret, then you could benefit from practicing mindfulness.
Acknowledging that some of your spending can be impulsive is an important first step towards financial wellbeing. Mindfulness can help you with setting and achieving your financial goals, particularly if you’ve been finding it hard to meet them.
Here are five tips for being more financially mindful with your money
1. Get connected to your bigger picture
Think about what financial goals you want to achieve, eg: saving for a holiday, car or home, paying off a loan or credit card. Understand which money habits help you - and which ones hinder you.
2. Know your incomings and outgoings
Take the time to document your income and all your daily living expenses plus the things bought on a whim – even small amounts can quickly add up. Then set yourself a weekly allowance for optional extras, such as: eating out, entertainment, clothing and gifts. Importantly, keep this allowance amount top of mind when pulling out your wallet or credit card.
3. Sit in the moment and pay attention to your thoughts and emotions
Are you making a purchase to fill a feeling of emptiness, FOMO (fear of missing out), stress or some other unmet need? It’s quite common to spend money to make yourself feel better and then find it ends up making you feel worse in the long run.
Choose to be more present with your family or friends or do something else that will make you feel better, eg: go for walk, talk to a friend, watch a favourite TV show. If you do feel a need to shop, set a time limit with an alarm to remind yourself to switch to another activity.
4. Stop and think before clicking ‘add to cart’
Tap into the rational part of your brain (rather than the emotional part) and ask yourself:
- Do I need it?
- Do I already have it or something similar?
- Does it spark joy?
- Can I afford it?
- How will this purchase impact achieving my long-term goals?
Challenge yourself to wait a few days and see if there is still a strong desire for the item.
Pausing your buy now pay later account could also help.
5. Be more socially aware
Make a commitment to live a more sustainable life. Will what you’re buying end up in landfill? Could you fix an item rather than replace it? Are you buying from or investing in an ethical company? Ultimately, are you being a good global citizen?
Becoming financially mindful does takes time, effort and practice. But over time it becomes a healthy habit.
Talk to a financial planner to help you set financial goals and achieve them.
Copyright © 2022 AIA Financial Services Pty Limited (ABN 68 008 540 252, AFSL 231109), trading as AIA Financial Wellbeing. All rights reserved. This information is current at the date of this publication and is subject to change. This provides general information only, without taking into account factors like the objectives, financial situations, needs or personal circumstances of any individual and is not intended to be financial, legal, tax, health, medical, nutritional or other advice. Before acting on the information in this publication, individuals should consider its appropriateness having regard to such factors.